Road Trip Season (episode 1)

This past Saturday was the Detroit Feis, an Irish Dance competition where my daughter Maddie competed in a number of different dances. She won first place in her Reel which gave everyone cause to celebrate. Her best buddy and fellow dancer Camille also won her Reel (they are in different age/ skill level categories), and her Treble Reel and placed 4th in her Treble Jig. These girls never stop dancing, especially with all the music that surrounds them, so it’s nice to see them reap the benefits of all their hard work.

While in Detroit we were fortunate to have a place to stay at my friend Dave’s house. Dave is a potter who lives and works in Ferndale, Michigan. He has his studio set up in his basement and the kids spent much of their free time making clay pots.

When we travel to another city to attend an Irish Dance competition, part of the fun is hanging out afterwards with the musicians who were hired to play for the dancers as well as those who live in that city. Having just attended the Fleadh held in Detroit this year, it was great to meet up with some of those Detroit musicians once again and have few tunes. I played only a little bit on Saturday night at the Feis Musician’s hotel.

Sunday’s tunes were to be had at Conor O’Neil’s pub in Ann Arbor Michigan and I have to admit, I am a chicken. My whistle stayed hidden in my bag during this session which was filled with amazing musicians and great Irish Music. Sometimes there’s value in simply listening.

Not all weekend was spent at Irish cultural events. We had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with my friend Jeni’s brother who has a pool and two amazing golden retriever dogs. Bailey, the younger of the two, likes to swim but she doesn’t do it like any other dog I have ever met. She stays vertical, like a person, and keeps her back paws on the floor of the pool. It is hilarious. She could probably win some money on America’s Funniest Home Videos or something.

Allie is Bailey’s older sister. She doesn’t swim a whole lot but rather lies in the shade like a big ol’ carpet dog. I sat and drew a picture…

Before the session on Sunday at O’Neil’s, we walked around Ann Arbor and looked at all the cool shops there. One phenomenon I was excited to check out was that of the Urban Fairies, reputed to be found in Ann Arbor. Sure enough, we found them. Little tiny doors behind which lay another world. I left a button and a New Zealand coin as my offering to the Fairies at Peaceable Kingdom gift shop, glad to participate in this sweet Ann Arbor tradition.

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